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Five Eco-friendly Resorts in Five Countries With A Focus on Ecotourism
Some tiny nations have been actively promoting ecotourism as a way to achieve sustainable growth. Kick back and enjoy guilt-free in these five eco-friendly resorts below.
Bhutan: Six Senses Paro
Known as the Stone Ruins, Six Senses Paro is located 7,382 feet (2,250 meters) high in the Himalayan Kingdom.
Sustainability Perspective: The resort enhances the nearby local eco-village by introducing best farming practices while promoting a plastic-free environment and creating a dedicated sustainability fund.
Details: Bhutan, the champion for happiness over economic growth, is a clear leader when it comes to sustainable tourism. The tiny nation has long developed a policy of "High Value, Low Impact" tourism to create a sense of exclusivity and to maintain itself as an exotic destination.
Paro is home to Bhutan's famous Tiger's Nest monastery, but also where you can find Six Senses Bhutan. Six Senses is a brand under the IHG group that focuses on wellness and sustainability. The group has recently committed to banning single-use and disposable plastic from all their hotels by 2022. It has also stipulated in all management contracts that 0.5% of the hotel's revenue must go to a sustainability fund.
In Paro, Six Senses is growing its organic food and flowers in an eco-village nearby. Harvests that go to guests' dining tables include grapes, apples, plums, lettuce, chia seeds, and more. You can also go on a guided mushroom foraging experience, after which you will decide how to prepare the mushrooms in a cookery class.
But perhaps one of the most interesting activities at Six Senses Bhutan is the Sleep Retreat. It is said to be perfect for those who are “tired, no energy, suffering from colds, headaches or stress", which is basically everyone who lives in a city. Through a combination of massage, yoga, and mediation, Six Senses promises a program that will boost your mood and energy levels. Now, who wouldn't want one of these?
You can learn more about Bhutan's Six Senses Paro here or you can book here.
The Secret Bay has a StayWell commitment, built on three premises: green and clean practices, nutrition-based vitality, and Dominica's healing and wonder-inducing biodiversity.
Sustainability Perspective: The resort was designed with an environmental focus; Focuses staff on eco-friendly practice by asking "green team members" to sign an agreement to adhere to conservation measures.
Details: Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, Dominica is less of a beach holiday destination. Rather, the small island state is branded as the Caribbean's "Nature Island", and you have a chance to enjoy mountains, hot springs, waterfalls, and rainforests. Since the 1990s, the government has pursued ecotourism as a development policy.
The Secret Bay is located on the northwest coast of Dominica, and the luxury boutique resort is on a cliff overlooking the ocean. But you can also jump inside the ocean for a spearfishing adventure. You will be looking for the lionfish, which is not local to Dominica, and eat up the local fish that are crucial for the survival of the coral reefs. By spearfishing them, you are not only helping to preserve the coral reefs, but you would also get yourself a delicious dinner.
The resort was recently awarded a Green Globe Certificate, as it was designed with sustainable principles. Wastewater from the resort is repurposed for the plants, via a drip irrigation drainage system. Energy savings is also crucial, as energy-efficient lighting and appliances are used. Biodegradable food packaging, glass bottles, and a recycling program sum up the details that go into the eco-friendly experience.
You can learn more about Dominica's The Secret Bay here or you can book here.
Stay in water bungalows that are sitting on the edge of a marine sanctuary.
Sustainability Perspective: Receive one of the most unique passport stamps when you enter Palau - an environmental pledge. Then go on to stay with an ecofriendly resort that supports marine life.
Details: Palau, an island nation in the Pacific, knows well about the impact of climate change. So the microstate became the first nation to require visitors to sign an environmental pledge when visitors enter its borders. It also created a certification program to highlight local businesses that meet certain sustainability requirements. The microstate also created a marine sanctuary stretching more than a million square kilometers.
Palau Pacific Resort is also sitting on an edge of this marine sanctuary. The sanctuary area outside the resort supports over 566 species of marine life, including a few endangered species such as the giant clam and the hawksbill turtle. Scuba diving is a favourite activity for most visitors. On special occasions, such as Earth Day, guests can also participate in the baby clam planting at the sanctuary.
The resort uses solar power for part of its electricity generation and collects rainwater for water conservation purposes. It also has a machine that converts plastic back into diesel oil that can be used for torches and other equipment.
You can learn more about Palau's Palau Pacific Resort here or you can book here.
A collection of 15 opulent tented villas inside a UNESCO Biosphere on the island of Príncipe.
Sustainability Perspective: The resort offers opportunities for the local staff and provides a chance for visitors to experience Príncipe's rich biodiversity.
Details: In 1971, UNESCO set up a program called Man and the Biosphere Programme, with the aim of creating a series of biospheres that will serve as learning places for sustainable development. These biospheres are also acting as testbeds for local solutions that may solve global challenges. In the small country of São Tomé and Príncipe, the entire island of Principe has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere.
Principe island is estimated to be over 3 million years old. The island may be small, but it contains differentiated bioclimatology, with changes in terrain and altitude. The ocean areas around Príncipe are important for the reproduction of sea turtles, seabirds, and cetaceans such as whales and dolphins. Locals, a population of roughly 7,000 people, continue to live on the island. Many of them are employed at Sundy Praia.
Once in Príncipe, go on one of the many hiking trails which will bring you to Parrot Mountain, O quê pipi waterfalls or to Ribeira Izé, the first capital of Príncipe. You can also learn about the history of the island at an old plantation house used by the colonists. Sundy Praia was named as one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World.
You can learn more about São Tomé and Príncipe's Sundy Praia here or you can book here.
Bird Island was named as the 7th best destination to travel to in the world for ‘genuine’ eco-tourism by the BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Sustainability Perspective: The entire island was turned into a sanctuary for birds and hawksbill turtles.
Details: Seychelles is a pioneer of the "blue economy" concept, which is broadly defined as the idea of “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem."
An interesting place that is carrying this concept out is Bird Island, the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago, 100 km from Seychelles' main island, the Mahé Island.
Before the Europeans arrive, Bird Island was dominated by over a million pairs of sooty terns and the island was covered by their poop. But then people arrived, and they started building coconut plantations and extracting guano (i.e., bird poops) to be used as fertilizer. The number of sooty terns dropped to below 20,000 pairs by 1955.
It was in 1967 that the island was sold to its present owner, who turned the island into a sanctuary for birds and hawksbill turtles. As such, the luxury resort maintains a no artificial lighting policy to protect the nesting turtles and the sooty terns.
You can learn more about Seychelles' Bird Island here or you can book here.